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Gangs are a violent reality that people have to deal with in today's cities. What has made these groups come about? Why do some kids feel that being in a gang is an acceptable and prestigious way to live? There are many different theories to these questions. On the surface, gangs may appear to be shallow and materialistic; a result of human beings' personal wants, but there are speculations that are more profound. In reference to the way humans are influenced in society, there is valid evidence to distribute blame at negative forces of economic disadvantages, capitalism, and the media.
Along with gang membership comes easy gains for the gang member. The gang members are easily consumed with the money, power, protection, and thrill that being a part of a gang can offer. Instead of committing to a 9 to 5, considering if the unemployment rate would permit it, gang members can easily get the desirables all rolled into the package that accompanies gang initiation. They get the sense of identity, status, and boost in self-esteem that human nature craves, (Grinney 76) but not without the cons. The risks that these gang members take on include loosing their lives to the spur of a few short-term thrills. ¡°[The appeal of] Gang life is predicated on immediate economic gain from drug and other crime profits and social gain from the agency of rulelessness. Mainstream life is oriented toward the future, and social and material gains are slower but steadier, more reliable, and less risky.¡± (Fleisher 214) Even though, the material gains seem to be the obvious temptation, there are deeper meanings to why these children turn to gangs.
Gang members are being influenced by a society in which while the negative forces of drugs, guns, gangs, and media have become more threatening, the positive socializing forces of family, school, religion, and neighborhood have grown relatively weak and ineffective. Increasingly, children are being raised in homes disrupted by divorce and economic stress; too many children emerge "under socialized" and "under supervised." (Fox 117). Of all the negative influences that have affected gang members, the roots are found within below average economic situations. The people with less than adequate paying jobs are more inclined to poverty and thus subjected to more afflicted ways of life. Youth living these impoverished lives in lower class areas are more prone to joining gangs because they face it everyday. ¡°Poverty has a cumulative effect, and that burden feels the heaviest on the shoulders of the youngest and weakest children.¡±(Fleisher 248) In situations where children are in neither a good family nor have a stable financial situation, nor well supervised, it is very easy for them to divert to gangs. In a society where more than 57% of children do not have the necessary full-time supervision they need (Fox 117), these children tend to fulfill their desire to be part of a family by joining gangs....